A recommendation to approve a private plan change
permitting nearly 1400 new dwellings on land near Wanaka
(pictured) has angered residents in the area including
(from left) Barry South, Noelene Pullar and Jan and Bruce
Paulson. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The Queenstown couple behind the Northlake development on
the edge of Wanaka declined to discuss it with the Otago
The director of Queenstown company Southern PR, Fiona
Woodham, issued a press statement on behalf of Michaela Ward
Meehan and her husband, Chris Meehan, but a request for an
interview was rejected.
''I have to say both Chris and Michaela are very media shy.
''That's just the way that they are.
''And I do know that from having dealt with them previously
they really don't like to be upfront, you know?''
The recommendation by commissioners Lyal Cocks and David
Whitney to allow a plan change paving the way for nearly 1400
new houses on the outskirts of Wanaka was made public by the
Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday.
A nearby resident who joined the legal fight against the plan
change said he had never met the couple and described them as
He would have preferred to have been informed of their
intentions as the proposal progressed, and he believed an
access road into the subdivision had been achieved ''through
the back door''.
Aubrey Rd resident Jan Paulson believed Mrs Ward Meehan had
bought her property when prices dropped.
''And now she's come back.
''She's got no interest in the community, no interest in how
the community works or looks. All she's interested in is
making some money.''
When asked if the scale of the proposal might require the
couple to be more accessible to the media, Ms Woodham
repeated the couple were ''quite private people and they
prefer to just work behind the scenes''.
''And that's genuinely what they are like.''
The couple operate several Auckland-based companies under the
name of Winton Partners - Winton being the town where it is
understood Chris Meehan comes from.
The Companies Office shows Michaela Ward Meehan to be the
sole shareholder and director of the various Winton Partners
companies, none of which appear to mention Chris Meehan.
While Mr Meehan attended the six-day hearing into the plan
change in Wanaka in February, Mrs Ward Meehan was not sighted
by the ODT reporter who attended.
It has been reported previously Mrs Ward Meehan, who is
Danish, was an Olympic sailing competitor.
In 2000, Australia's Sun Herald described Chris Meehan
as someone who was young and ambitious who ''wants a slice of
Australian real estate'', and The Sydney Morning
Herald reported in 2004 Mr and Mrs Meehan had as guests
at their wedding Princess Mary of Denmark and her husband,
Princess Mary, who is Australian by birth, was previously Mr
Meehan's personal assistant.
Earlier this year, Mountain Scene reported that Winton
Partners NZ Ltd bought prime waterfront development land
beside the Hilton hotel complex at Kelvin Heights and was
selling off some sections.
Mrs Ward Meehan had recently shifted her family from Sydney
to Queenstown, the paper said.
She is also the developer for the existing 64-lot Northlake
subdivision - most of which were presold.
• Several submitters spoken to by the ODT yesterday
were surprised they had not been made aware the
recommendation had been made public.
QLDC communications manager Michele Poole said submitters
were being emailed yesterday afternoon ''but the decision
isn't official until it's accepted by the council and that is
normally the trigger for advising submitters of the